Thursday review

Wireless 2008 overview

published: Tue 8th Jul 2008

Jay-Z

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th July 2008
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
one day £45 - for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday
last updated: Mon 7th Jul 2008

This is the first day of this year's O2 Wireless Festival, taking place in Hyde Park being the biggest and most central of all the London's parks. We call it a festival but I cannot see any signs of a campsite at the venue.

However, this is definitely a great outdoor event with quality acts performing over all 4 days. The line-up on the main stage for this Thursday with scheduled running times includes:
Cool Kids (15:00 to 15:30)
David Jordan (15:45 to 16:20)
Roisin Murphy (16:40 to 17:30)
Hot Chip (17:50 to 18:40)
Mark Ronson (19:05 to 20:05)
JAY-Z (scheduled for 20:30 but was actually 21:00)

Unfortunately because I'm attending this event after work I manage to miss some of the best acts, notably Roisin Murphy and Hot Chip. I would love to have seen the Moloko lead singer and Hot Chip who are both great live performers and crank out some excellent dance tunes but alas I miss them both. I am told they both perform great sets.

Roisin Murphy

When I arrive Hot Chip have already left the stage and the queue for the ticket/wristband collection point is as massive as the acts scheduled for tonight.

I hear Mark Ronson in the distance running through his 'Version' album. This guy is a superstar in the making and already a guitarist, writer, producer, & performer at the top of his game. He has collaborated with many stars for some excellent cover versions, all with renowned singers doing the vocals. Of these songs a few just happen to be some of my favourite indie numbers from the likes of Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park, Radiohead, and The Zutons.

Ronson plays in a splendid style with his jangly guitar which suits all the songs superbly and, in my opinion he even makes some songs sound better than the originals including Britney Spears' track 'Toxic' which goes down well this evening.

He throws in a few expletives but he doesn't need to do that, as he already looks cool in a light grey Mohair suit with drain-pipe trousers.

We also hear a cover version of 'Pretty Green' a classic from the 1980 ‘Sound Effects' album from The Jam. This track sounds a million miles away from Paul Weller's version but nonetheless is another crowd pleaser with Tawiah as guest doing the vocals.

The appreciative audience are next treated to an impromptu appearance of Wylie performing his 'Rolex' song which goes down well with all the R ‘n’ B Hipsters in the crowd.

Mark Ronson

And if that wasn't sufficient enough for all the Street Wise Londoners we are rewarded with the next special guest as Ronson welcomes Lily Allen to the stage! Lily looks smashing in a grey vest style dress over leopard skin ¾ lengths and in heels for a change from her customary trainers. They perform 'Littlest Things' which they wrote together with the catchy "...Dreams..." chorus. This is followed with their version of The Kaiser Chief's 'Oh My God' which they have to restart after fluffing up the intro. I later hear they blame each other for that but it goes down a storm all the same.

As Lily Allen leaves the stage Ronson is joined by Daniel Merriweather and they launch into their chartbusting single 'Stop Me' which rounds off the set with all the audience singing along to the words.

I have some time to kill before the headliner so go for a wander. Over at the 'Monster Energy' Skate Ramp some of the world's most prolific skateboarders & BMX bike riders are performing amazing stunts on the huge structure.

Nearby housed in one of the big tops we have the 'Tuborg Stage' with their headliner Red Snapper pumping out a unique sound. This 4 piece combo comprising of drummer, guitarist, sax and lead singer on double bass pump out a unique sound including tracks like 'Wanga', 'Hot Flush', and 'Playing The Dog'.

On the O2 Stage we have Elliot Minor sounding very akin to Iron Maiden but with added keyboards. A good crowd is assembled to catch the set from this fresh faced 5 piece Metal band who also sound a lot like Funeral For A Friend.

around the site (Thursday)

As 9pm approaches the main stage comes to life again, and the audience eagerly anticipate the arrival of Jay-Z.

The current king of Hip-Hop takes to the stage looking majestic all in black with cool designer shades and sporting a black T-shirt with a cross design. This symbol is echoed with the gold rosary he wears round his neck with a gold chain or two.

Jay-Z gets his set underway with lyrics of "...say hello to the bad guy..." and "rain drops keep falling on my brain...makes me insane..." Thankfully he works his magic and we don't have to go mad in the rain!

Jay-Z

He continues with 'The Roc Boys' which gets the audience grooving big time and enough hands in the air to salute our leader. Next he introduces his rapping buddy Memphis Bleek and we have a request to "...Turn The Music up..."

4th tune in is a major highlight when the duet launch into '99 Problems' and as soon as he raps the "If ya having girl problems I feel bad for ya son; I've got 99 problems and..." the crowd go berserk.

As they continue with the set and with lyrics of "...Jump Like You Wanna Reach The Sky..." we hear some great samples to suit, including a bit of Prodigy, and closely followed with a bit of Amy Winehouse 'Rehab' mixed in for good measure. 35 minutes into the set I even hear a bit of Jackson Five.

Jay-Z lives up to his Def-Jam persona including lyrics of "...Takes A Nation..." and "...That's My Mother F**King Name..." all the songs & raps keep his adoring fans happy.

He evens goes into a rant about George Bush which arouses the political heart strings of many and when the face of George W. Bush appears on the big screen this is greeted with boos.

Another highlight of the show tonight is his version of 'American Boy' with lyrics "...London Britches, NOT London Bridges, is falling down..." a reference that the ladies need to hold onto their knickers when this "SUGAR" is in town.

His set is peppered with songs from his album 'American Gangster', but one of the biggest crowd pleasers is saved towards the end with 'Hard Knock Life' and gets a big cheer and applause.

There are no duet performances with Beyoncé or Linkin Park tonight but Jay-Z holds his own and as I walk away I see many smiling faces. Like him or loathe him, this rapper puts in a great performance and he knows how to capture an audience. Truly the reigning 'King of Hip-Hop'.
review by: Paul O'Neill

photos by: Amy Derham

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th July 2008
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
one day £45 - for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday
last updated: Mon 7th Jul 2008


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